BEECH Part 1: Exercise & Health

Hello Beech Community. Today we talked with Ellie an exercise physiologist and pilates instructor and she will be talking all about exercise and health.

What is an exercise physiologist?

An exercise physiologist or an EP is someone who studies at university for four years to become an allied health professional, where they can then prescribe specific evidence-based exercise to treat or manage a chronic condition, or illness similar to how a doctor might prescribe medication to manage an illness as an EP.

They might manage diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic heart failure, cancer osteoarthritis osteoporosis neurological diseases and chronic pain conditions away from chronic disease.

They also look at the healthy population, so people who are apparently healthy don’t exactly have these chronic diseases, however we as eps try to keep everyone as healthy and strong
as they can be to avoid developing a chronic disease like this later in life.

So, when we talk about exercise we have strength training and we have aerobic training those are our two main types of exercise we like to focus on. There is also balance training, impact training, flexibility, mobility, training as well, but today we’re going to talk to you a
little bit about strength in aerobic

Strength or resistance training

This is where you’re picking up and pulling or pushing a weight or a load, and what that action does is force the muscle to contract and pull against the bone to create a movement.

This movement is pretty cool because that pulling on the bone helps the bone to stimulate further growth, and development, so we actually get really nice strong healthy bones.

We can also use strength training to strengthen particular joints that might be prone to injury, weaker, have a history of injuries, so for example strengthening all the muscles around the hip joint, your glutes, your hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings, core muscles, that can really help to support your hip, and prevent further injury, and also keep you functionally active too in your day-to-day activities.

Examples of strength training include: going to the gym and pulling some weights on the cable machine, or even at home lifting some hand weights, using resistance bands, or ankle weights


Aerobic training

Aerobic training on the other hand, is anything that challenges the cardiovascular system. You can think about aerobic training, as you would probably think of an aerobics class, so where they’re kind of really jogging on the spot, moving their body a lot, not really lifting any heavy weights, but definitely getting out of breath. That’s your classic aerobic training.

There are a whole bunch of different types of aerobic training: dance, running, brisk walking, jogging, skipping, skiing, bar classes, surfing, and a whole bunch more.

Aerobic training is a really great addition to complement strength training, because we get great improvements with our heart health to prevent chronic conditions that we may develop later on.

It also just makes us feel good. We get a nice release of endorphins and good neurotransmitters. There are studies to show improved quality of life, reduced fatigue, hypotensive effects, what that means is reduced blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels and reduced blood glucose levels.

Exercise in general is also important for improving your mental health outlook. We know from studies that we see an improved quality of life and perception of a self improved mood, improved memory, and improved cognitive thinking.

There is also evidence to suggest that exercise can help improve kidney health by managing blood pressure levels, and cholesterol. A very good alternative is “Pilates” because we can really address posture, alignment particularly hip, knee, shoulder alignment, and develop good core and pelvic floor strength.

Overall, this can help us develop body awareness and that’s really important because if we have good body awareness, we can activate our core muscles on commands and develop better control over continence.

The american college of sports medicine set out these guidelines to dictate approximately how often adults should be exercising per week. They came up with 150 to 210 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, though that can include ideally two to three days of strength training per week.

Kind of sounds like a lot but ultimately that sort of comes down to about 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.

You may have heard the term “incidental physical activity”, but what’s the difference between that and exercise? so from an EP perspective exercise is any structured training that you participate in weekly, versus incidental physical activity is exercise that you accumulate during
your day without actually training. For example: taking the stairs, instead of taking the lift so you’re moving your body and avoiding opportunities where you could be more sedentary and not moving.

There have been a lot of studies to show that reducing sedentary behavior so prolonged sitting and actually even prolonged standing will help to improve your health outcomes in the future.

People throw out that number 10 000 steps per day is what you need to accumulate to have a healthy day, but really there is some evidence that if you achieve some 10 000 steps per day you still get some benefits.

The message here is something is better than nothing, so if you can get outside, move a little bit, maybe take the stairs, don’t take the lift, try to do 30 minutes of exercise per day, you’ll be setting yourself up on a good path there.